During Sunday’s game against the Red Sox, outspoken broadcaster John Kruk said that he thinks Albert Pujols should be put on the disabled list. Pujols’s right knee is causing him discomfort. He had arthroscopic surgery on it in October after injuring it while running the bases against the Red Sox last August. The more painful injury, however, is the plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Pujols has suffered from this before (during his tenure with the Cardinals) and has played through it. Plantar fasciitis is a common foot problem. To cure it, you have to relieve the inflammation and then stay off your foot to allow the tears in your fasciia to heal. Can this be accomplished in a 15-day DL stint? According to WebMD, most people need six weeks to recover from bouts of plantar fasciitis.
If the Angels ever do decide to put Pujols on the DL, they have an excellent replacement at Triple-A Salt Lake waiting. His name is Efren Navarro. He grew up in the South Central Los Angeles suburb of Lynwood and played college ball as a pitcher and first baseman at UNLV. He was drafted by the Angels in the 50th round of the 2007 draft and has been the starting first baseman for the Salt Lake Bees for the past three seasons.
In 2011, Navarro’s excellent play at first base earned him a Rawlings Gold Glove Award. At the end of the 2011 season, Navarro was called up to the Angels for a cup of coffee and hit a single and a double in ten at bats.
On July 2, it was announced that Navarro had been selected to the 2013 Pacific Coast League All-Star team, which will play the International League All-Star team on July 17 in Reno, Nevada. Navarro was selected not only for his defensive abilities but for his offensive talent as well. He has played in 84 games so far this season and has an excellent triple-slash line of .358/.439/.502. Navarro is a gap-to-gap line drive hitter whose 25 doubles rank third in the PCL. His 46 walks are second best in the league.
While Albert Pujols at full strength is a powerful weapon to have on your team, Jerry Dipoto should feel confident about his replacement should Pujols need to rest his legs on the disabled list any time this year.